Fay Kleinman (November 29, 1912 – February 21, 2012)1 was an American painter. She was also known by her married names, Fay Skurnick, and then Fay Levenson.
The medium of most of the works Kleinman created are oil on canvas, but she also produced some mixed-media work and watercolors. She exhibited in museums in New York and Massachusetts and in galleries throughout the country. She was the co-founder of the Becket Arts Center in Becket, Massachusetts.
Kleinman studied studied at the American Artists School: murals with Anton Refregier, painting with Jean Liberte, and sculpture with Milton Hebald. She also took classes through the WPA, City College of New York, and the National Academy of Design.
Kleinman continued to paint into her nineties. She painted portraits of her daughter and both her grandsons. One portrait of her grandson, Randy Napoleon at ten years old was purchased in 2005 by the Ypsilanti District Library in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where it hangs in front of the children's collection. Another painting of Randy and paintings of Brian Napoleon were included in a 2006 show at the Ann Arbor District Library, Ordinary People, in which Kleinman showed the extraordinary qualities of "ordinary" individuals.
In addition to portraits, she created abstractions, still lifes, and landscapes. She was perhaps best known for her "Zayde" series,citation needed paintings created from sketches her father did for her daughter based on stories her daughter, then three, made up for him. These works have been compared to those of Paul Klee, include fanciful figures and places.
After a career that included sales through galleries in New York and various New England cities, Kleinman sold many paintings in her senior years. In 2007 the University of Michigan purchased a mixed media self-portrait of a woman reading a newspaper. It is permanently displayed in the University's new East Ann Arbor Health Center.
After her death, in August 2012, some of her paintings were displayed at Gallery 55+ in Ann Arbor and she was given a retrospective by the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. More than 300 paintings were displayed in the latter, which chronicled Kleinman's career from the early 1930s through 2010, when she did her last full painting.234 The retrospective was met with great enthusiasm.5
Kleinman survived two husbands, Jack Skurnick, who died in 1952 and was the father of Davida, also known as Davi Napoleon. Skurnick was a record producer and violinist. She later married Emanuel Levenson, a pianist and music director of an opera company who taught music at The New School in New York City. He co-founded the Becket Arts Center with her.
- Home Page
- Obituary for second husband, Emanuel Levenson, in the "New York Times"
- Obituary for Fay Kleinman in The Ann Arbor News
- Article about retrospective exhibit in Detroit Performs
- Fay Kleinman's obituary
- http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/vrc/archives/2012/08/fay_kleinman.html University of Michigan School of Art & Design exhibit page
- http://www.heritage.com/articles/2012/07/29/ann_arbor_journal/news/doc5015d29665ff3783267648.txt Ypsilanti Courier story; to see more photographs, scroll above first page photo
- Detroit Jewish News, August 14. page 54, Loving Retrospective by Suzanne Chessler
- http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/u-m-slusser-kleinman/ Review in Annarbor.com by John Carlos Cantu
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